Blog 23 A Most Thought Provoking Conversation

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Have you ever had a conversation with a person and it left you thinking about it for hours and possibly days afterwards? I had such a conversation a couple of days ago and I want to share some of it with you.

I was talking to a friend from Pole and she told me about some of her experiences as a student in another dance discipline. Her conversation got me to thinking.

The dance discipline she had attended is an old and respected one and it is very common for people to send their daughters for lessons and nobody blinks an eye. I imagine that if you said you were sending your six year old to a pole class there could well be some eye blinking, but is this fair and is this justified?

Back to the old discipline, the friend talked about walking into a room to take exams and being looked over by students and mums rather than given a smile as you enter. You walk into a pole studio people say hello and greet you.

She talked about other students being told that they did not have the right body type to do this form of dancing and those students being terribly upset and remember we are talking about young people here not hardened adults. In Pole we take you as you come, big, small, tall, short, it doesn’t matter they make it work. Isn’t that how it should be?

She talked about how she wasn’t able to achieve full extension in a move and that, that would limit how far she could go in that discipline. In Pole if you can’t do a move there are a million others you can have a go at and nobody cares if there is one thing you can’t do. Which lesson would you like your daughters or sons to learn? You can choose from – you’re not good enough as in discipline one or you’re plenty good enough as in Pole. If I had a daughter or a son interested in dance I would be choosing option two.

Now she’s not the only one that has told me about dodgy things happening from this discipline and to be honest I have heard some hair raising stories in gymnastics too. For instance, if you haven’t achieved your splits you’re out. If you don’t have your handstand by a certain age you’re out. I’m sure there are many studios and clubs out there that are lovely and inclusive and supportive but if you’re considering your child joining one how do you find out what life lessons they are actually teaching?

We’re not talking about joining the Australian Ballet or the Gymnastic Olympic team, maybe at that level sure you have to get a bit harsh. We are talking about children keeping fit, expressing themselves in art and feeling good about themselves.

So there was that part of the conversation and that really got me to thinking. Then we moved on to how Pole makes you comfortable in your own skin. Now this my friends is worth a million dollars and this is why I think we should be encouraging kids, women and men to do Pole.

My experience of Pole has been that it is transformative both physically and mentally. I have only been doing Pole since April and I am an older person with a lot of scars and I did not feel confident about my body. In Pole it is practical to wear less rather than more because you stick to the pole better. So all of a sudden it’s not about you only wear the outfits if you look good or feel good you wear the outfits because it’s practical and then lo and behold you start feeling good in them. I remember when I started, I was talking with other beginner students and it was a big deal to show our bellies. My friend from the first conversation said exactly the same thing. Now we wouldn’t bat an eye lid. I wish I had had that confidence when I was younger.

I watched the TV series the Handmaid’s Tale and if you haven’t seen it I would really recommend it. Women have to dress modestly, they are hot, uncomfortable, they do not have full vision because of the head gear. How often do we wear clothes that are hot or uncomfortable because we feel we have to cover up? I have fat, I have a scar I have a wrinkle – hide it. Who made these rules and why are we following them? The day I started wearing crop tops at the gym my work outs improved significantly. It had nothing to do with appearance it had everything to do with practicality.

On a regular basis I get females saying to me I couldn’t wear that, I couldn’t do that, I don’t have the body for that. So when did that thinking start and if you could stop your daughters and these days your sons thinking that way wouldn’t you? I know I would.

The idea of covering up and hiding yourself is so hateful and so destructive. I wish I had taken up Pole earlier and I would recommend Pole to anyone who does not feel good about their body or about their inner gifts.

I try changing these ideas with my students at school. I talk about how a strong, fit body is something you want. If you don’t have a strong fit body what can your body do for you, look at what it can do rather than what it can’t do. I promote collaboration, hard work and effort rather than a celebration of talent and competition. It’s a mind shift. I don’t know if I am making any impact but I hope so.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thank you Universe for Pole and friends and good instructors.

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